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How Much Does It Cost To Install Central Air In Houston?

Most homeowners spend between $4,223 to $6,950 in Houston.
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In our homes, we should be as comfortable as possible. Without central air or an AC unit, many of us would be unhappy six months of every year. As such, given that a central air system is one the most important appliances in Houston, more and more homeowners are ensuring they have a comfortable and cool summer.

Of course, that relaxing summer does not come without a cost. See the average prices on Houston AC units and how you can lower your central air installation cost. If the cost sounds right to you, ImproveNet can help you find Houston cooling contractors.

National Install An A/C Unit Costs

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Houston, Texas

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $5,675
Minimum Cost $2,500
Maximum Cost $8,794
Average Range $4,223 to $6,950
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 131 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. New AC Unit Cost In Houston
  2. Houston Prices On AC Units
  3. Central Air Labor Costs In Houston
  4. Houston AC Unit Sizes & Ratings
  5. Houston Air Conditioning Unit Discounts
  6. Find A Houston Cooling Contractor
  7. Other Houston Project Costs

New AC Unit Cost In Houston

The average cost to install a central air unit in Houston is $5,675. However, given that prices range by neighborhood and various other factors, we have seen central AC unit costs in Houston between $2,500 and $8,794. As you might expect, that AC installation price in River Oaks is generally a bit more than the average.

No matter where you live in Houston, the best way to get the most appropriate central air installation quote is to get at least three bids from Houston HVAC contractors.

Houston Prices On AC Units

There are plenty of factors that can increase or decrease your central AC unit cost. Nonetheless, two of the most influential considerations are AC unit size and brand. Given the wide range of house sizes, different homes in Houston demand different sized AC units. Evidently, a one-bedroom condo does not need the same sized AC unit as a five-bedroom home.

To ensure you don’t overpay for your AC replacement, consider the following air conditioning installation prices:

Central AC Unit Size

Total Cost (Materials & Installation)

1.5 Tons

$1,600 - $2,100

2 Tons

$2,300 - $2,900

2.5 Tons

$2,400 - $3,100

3 Tons

$2,700 - $3,400

3.5 Tons

$3,000 - $3,700

4 Tons

$3,100 - $3,800

5 Tons

$3,300 - $4,000

Beyond unit size, you also have plenty of options when it comes to brand and/or manufacturer. Luckily, there’s no monopoly in this industry and you can choose from over 10 different air conditioner brands. Just like AC unit prices above, costs do range, however, according to their own websites, their average costs are:

AC Brand

Average Cost



























American Standard




Central Air Labor Costs In Houston

Just like electrical projects, most air conditioner installations or replacements are conducted by a trained cooling professional. While some advanced DIYers can install a new AC unit, most like the peace that comes with hiring someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.

Therefore, beyond the cost of the actual AC unit (which you can see under brand prices above), you should have a rough idea of labor costs associated with all cooling installations. In general, most Houston homeowners spend between $200 and $500 on labor to install or replace an AC unit. Bear in mind, this labor cost is included in the $5,675 Houston average.

Finally, some HVAC pros may add between $50 and $100 for extra materials and equipment, as needed on a per project basis.

Houston AC Unit Sizes & Ratings

As we said earlier, your AC unit size will largely depend on the amount of space it’s cooling. The efficiency of all air conditioners is measured by BTUs. Put simply, BTUs tell you what size AC unit is needed to effectively cool your entire home. To come up with an accurate BTU, you need to look at your home’s size.

Area Cooled

Capacity or BTUs/Hour

700sf – 1,000sf

18,000 (1.5 Tons)

1,000sf – 1,200sf


1,200sf – 1,400sf


1,400sf – 1,500sf

24,000 (2 Tons)

1,500sf – 2,000sf

30,000 (2.5 Ton)

2,000sf – 2,500sf

34,000 (3 Tons)

Even if you can’t stand the heat, do not buy a bigger air conditioner than you need. Beyond paying more for installation, larger AC units cost more to maintain and run on a daily basis. In addition, a larger system will cycle on and off all the time, wasting unnecessary energy.

Finally, the two last numbers you need to be aware of before you install a new AC unit in Houston are the EER and SEER ratings. The energy-efficiency ratio (EER) tells you how efficient your AC unit is. The best EER rating is 80db/67wb inside.

The seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) looks at how efficient your system is through all four seasons. It looks at the cooling output during one season versus its electric input during the same season. Make sure your new AC system has a SEER rating of at least 14.

Houston Air Conditioning Unit Discounts

We are living in a greener world and fortunately, the government is incentivizing Houston homeowners to install more efficient cooling systems. To get a rebate, your new AC unit must meet standards set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). If you purchase a split-system air conditioner with a SEER of at least 16 or a packaged AC unit with a SEER of 14 or more, save your receipt. You could get a $300 to $500 rebate when you file your taxes!

Find A Houston Cooling Contractor

It’s getting hot out there and the only way to stay cool throughout those hot Houston summers is to install an efficient AC unit. To ensure your home is ready for the seasons to come, let ImproveNet help you find reliable cooling contractors in Houston today.

Other Houston Project Costs

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Last updated on Sep 20, 2017

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